In a situation of complete absence of tourist traffic, with completely closed accommodation and catering facilities across the country, and growing uncertainty about the course of the main tourist season, the largest domestic tourist companies gathered in the Croatian Tourism Association (HUT) have drafted measures to preserve employment and businesses sector that generates almost 20 percent of Croatia's total GDP.
"In these conditions of the fight against the coronavirus-caused pandemic, it is completely certain that a significant part of tourist revenues will be absent this year. In such conditions, and due to the exceptional seasonality of Croatian tourism, which in four summer months generates 85 percent of total traffic, it is realistic to expect that the tourism sector will drag business problems until the spring of 2021. " points out Veljko Ostojic, director of HUT.
HUT supports the primary goal of the Government expressed in the presentation of the first set of measures to help the economy, primarily through the preservation of jobs and businesses in these extreme conditions, because they believe that this is the only way to make a quick return as soon as health and market conditions are created.
Therefore, the HUT proposes additional measures for tourism, which are divided into four groups.
- The first priority is save jobs until next spring.
For that, we need formal and material preconditions, and we propose the urgent formalization of the institute of "waiting workers", which realistically reflects the current position of the vast majority of workers in the hospitality industry.
While on hold, workers should receive a minimum wage compensation of 60%, which is otherwise unemployment benefit, and employers would not pay taxes and contributions since workers do not work.
The measure should be secured by next spring when we expect the start of business normalization.
- The second group of measures relates to payment of taxes and contributions and various fees.
Our proposal is that taxes and contributions and fees and mandatory membership fees (utilities, maritime property, tourist land, water fee…) are not paid until the catering facilities are open.
After the start of work, specifically with the opening of 50% of available capacities, the mentioned benefits are paid in the amount of 30-50% in order to enable the beneficiaries of these benefits to "survive" and dispose of funds exclusively for the necessary functioning.
This payment system is valid until 01.05.2021.
Namely, we are all aware that this year's tourist traffic will be significantly reduced and it is completely logical for employers to be exempt from paying such taxes. The delay in payment alone does not make sense, because it is already obvious that there will be no possibility of payment, but employment and business systems should be preserved until the resumption of full business.
- The third group of measures refers to liquidity financing and preparation for the next tourist season, therefore, it is proposed to provide grants and / or to provide favorable loans for this purpose through HBOR and commercial banks.
- The fourth group of measures refers to rescheduling of existing credit commitments for all entities that need it for business survival.
The measures have been sent to the Government, and the HUT expects them to be considered and adopted through the announced new package of assistance to the economy, which is necessary for the survival of the overall economy.